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Delivering Change to the Last Mile

Keep Version 1 simple. Let each sales team modify the program to fit their member skills and their customer situation. When you let sales teams customize -- when members have a chance to argue through every point -- they will truly understand how the team will operate and each member will feel personal ownership for the change.

The second problem is that the corporate design team tried to manage people through process maps and policies -- if you send out a policy, behavior will change. But, policies can't manage people; people manage people.

Think of the New York Yankees. Year-after-year they produce extraordinary teams. The Yankee's team culture is very strong. Every team member knows precisely what is expected. And violations are strictly enforced by peers.

Solution: Bring the entire sales team together to customize the new approach. Simplify the new approach into four to six major process steps and ask, "How are we doing on step one? Who owns step one; how should we measure and manage it; and what is the expected contribution from each team member?" Document each step. Then revisit and modify every month until the new behavior patterns solidify. Add additional process detail at each monthly meeting until you earn an A.

Example 2: Repositioning HR to provide enhanced business value.

A large company's HR organization spends more than one year to "transform" its HR generalists into HR Business Partners. The design team defines each new role in detail. They attempt to cross the last mile with a training class on how to be a strategic partner. But it doesn't work -- business leaders see no improvement in HR's business value.

Problem: Training classes work well for knowledge transfer (e.g., how to use computer programs), but are close to useless in driving behavior change. Distributing documented role profiles is even less effective.

Solution: First, replace all HRBPs who do not have the leadership, influence skills or analytical capacity to provide advice to senior leaders. Don't try to develop DNA.

Then, for remaining subordinates, schedule a facilitated conversation with their manager. A professional facilitator will ensure a quality conversation with documented agreements.

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